Mark 13 v 9 - 13

We can never say that Jesus had not warned us that life as a Christian could be very hard and involve a lot of suffering! In these verses we are studying His warnings about the persecution to come. There would be trials from the Jews-being 'handed over to councils and being beaten in synagogues'-and before the courts of the Romans, such as Paul faced before Felix, Festus and Agrippa.

These are the things Christ promised His followers:

1. That the Christian would be hugely strengthened to enable him or her to be a courageous witness to Him.

2. Sometimes the person of faith would be betrayed by their own family. When this becomes common place it would be one of the signs that the end times would be near. Micah prophesied this situation in his prophecies- chapter 7 v 6-and life becomes hell when personal loyalties are destroyed and love is a source of suspicion rather than trust.

3. The Christian believer would be hated for their faith. This may appear very strange to us who have been born in a tolerant country founded on Christian principles, but reading the comments of great Roman writers, such as Tacitus and Suetonius, there was a deep contempt for those who followed this new religion. Some believed that Christians were cannibals, because of their partaking in Communion and they were particularly hated because their faith came first, above all family or traditional ties.

We are called to look to Jesus. Whenever unjust accusations are hurled our way and we face the opprobrium of colleagues or members of our family we must call on the Holy Spirit and dig deep. We are called to endure to the end and we can only do that in His power.

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